The college of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) on Friday demanded a fine of 1.4 million euros against the insurance group Afi Esca and its manager Christian Burrus after declarative breaches in connection with the takeover offer of insurer April in 2019.
A fine of 400,000 euros has also been proposed against the management company Dm Finance for lack of independence, the college of the AMF having estimated that Mr. Burrus, 105th French fortune according to the magazine Challenges, had interfered in a repeated way in the management of a Dm Finance fund.
In 2019, Dm Finance and the companies of the Afi Esca group had acquired April shares after the announcement in December 2018 by CVC Capital Partners of the launch of a public tender offer (OPA) for this insurance company listed on the stock exchange. from Paris.
At the end of the takeover pre-offer period in July 2019, the combined shares of the companies of Mr. Burrus and Dm Finance were around 9% and CVC had not been able to implement the withdrawal. of April, not having reached the regulatory threshold of 90% of capital held.
The rapporteur for the Sanctions Committee and the representative of the college believe that the Afi Esca group and Dm Finance acted in concert to acquire these securities and block the delisting. They provided evidence of the influence of Mr. Burrus on the management of a Dm Finance fund, the funds of which were provided 100% by Afi Esca, having acquired more than 2% of April’s capital.
Defending himself from interference in the management of Dm Finance, Mr. Burrus explained that all the management of Afi Esca securities had been delegated to Dm Finance, which represents more than one billion euros, via a mandate of global management which includes many obligations including daily management reports and participation in Afi Esca’s weekly investment committees.
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Considering that Afi Esca and Dm Finance acted in concert, the AMF criticizes the companies for not having declared the crossing of the threshold of 5% of cumulative participation in the capital of April, nor the increase of more than 1% of their stake in the capital since the announcement of the future takeover bid.
At the end of 2019, all the cumulative securities were sold to CVC and a capital gain of 1.2 million euros was generated.
The Sanctions Commission’s decision is expected in the coming weeks.